The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with other Civil Society Organizations such as ONE Campaign, Save the Children, Social Good Nigeria and Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs (OSSAP-MDGs) as well as the National Planning Commission (NPC) have synergized in organizing the Social Good Summit in Abuja, today 30 November. The summit which has been used as a platform to launch broad based conversation on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria, brought together major stakeholders into the conversation on diverse role they are expected to play in support national efforts towards the successful implementation of SDGs in Nigeria.
According to Edwin Ikhuoria, one of the organizers and Country Coordinator, ONE Campaign, Social Good Summit Nigeria is one of the many activities that have been organized across the world following adoption of the SDGs in September at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), when Heads of Governments and states met and adopted new set of development goals. He emphasized that the conversation needs to progress further in-country so that there is no delay in implementation of the SDGs unlike the experience of the MDGs which started almost five years later. The Secretary of Programmes in the OSSAP-MDGs also unveiled the MDGs End–report and public presentation of “The road to SDGs”, Nigeria’s strategy for implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals.
There were two critical panel discussions at the summit which had representatives from Ministries, Department and Agencies of government, CSOs, NGOs and other development agencies. The panelists discussed, analyzed and recommended the best strategies for in the implementation of SDGs. “We must first of all begin to see SDGs as a blessing, so that it would be easy for us to work collectively in its implementation in Nigeria” said Mrs KA Niman, representative of the Ministry of Education. She further emphasized the critical role of education as the driver of development and the success of global goals. Also, Dr Orji, representing the Federal Ministry of Health said SDGs would be a whole new opportunity having learned serious lessons from the recently concluded MDGs.
“Whatever it takes, Children should be included in the implementation of the SDGs” said Dr David Olayemi of Save the Children Nigeria. The panelists also included Hamza Lawal of Connected Development, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Environment and a representative of the National Population Commission. The critical role of credible data collection and management as well as tracking of the SDGs was emphasized. Major recommendations on the need to ensure a ground up approach to achieving the SDGs, critical resource mobilization, efficient use of scare resources as well as the role of citizens in asking questions were put forward to ensure that the SDGs remain on track.
“Leaving no one behind” was the major theme that ran through the discussions as participants numbering over 300 including the media and delegates from the 36 states of the federation. The SDGs conversation has taken a new dimension as the recommendations from the summit are due to be submitted to the Minister of Planning and Budget in the coming days.